Plan Ahead for Successful Marketplace Development
To give an analogy, can you go with a manufactured home that you can build on, or do you need to build a custom home?
In many cases, a manufactured home, a prefab home, an RV, etc., might work well to get the business started. So, this may be an appropriate first step.
However, we encourage you to understand what the limitations are of the free software you’re getting. You might think you’re not paying for it, but you actually are as a business because a lot of the costs and benefits for a business is opportunity costs and sunk costs.
The fallacy there can be that you end up thinking you’re saving a lot by using something that’s an inferior starting point.
The features can be so sparse and incomplete that the amount of time it takes you to get started from having to complete the functionality of the free software can be more expensive and damaging to your business.
This is even more true if the incompleteness of the B2B marketplace software doesn’t just cost efficiency from the inside, but when interacting with the client, too. Not being able to successfully deliver for you clients can cost you your entire business.
So the question you need to ask is, is it going to cost more to complete what’s missing than it would to go with something that has all the features you need and allows you to focus on operating the business?
To that point, it’s beneficial to be able to focus on the business operations, including marketing, sales, bringing additional vendors to the marketplace, the governance, workflows, and how to best implement these in your niche.
This is more difficult to do if you are stuck with a less-than-ideal software by trying to save a few dollars a month, potentially, on the software front.
But this is something that depends on where your business is in the life cycle and what your particular needs are.
For some eMarketplaces, there’s no issue with using an open source or free software. It may end up being a great first step.
We just encourage you to keep in mind there can be major pitfalls. You might consider talking with experts to do the analysis instead of assuming that if it’s free, it’s the best route to go.